Nine new studies will share a total of £2million in funding to uncover next-level insights into Covid-19 through data analytics.

The Covid-19 Data and Connectivity National Core Study will use advanced analytical techniques to help with future pandemic preparedness and planning and the national Covid-19 response. Projects selected for funding will be working in partnership with Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) and The Alan Turing Institute and will be delivered by 16 universities across Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Professor Andrew Morris, director, Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) and lead, data and connectivity, said: “The quality of applications received to undertake this important research was exceptional. I am excited to see the successful projects progress over the next 12 months and how data science can be applied to address one of society’s most pressing health research questions.”

Through advanced analytics, modelling, statistical and machine learning techniques, the projects intend to leave a legacy for future research projects. They will create additional data linkages, improve the quality of data and follow best practice in open science, sharing code and tools.

Benefitting from the data infrastructure that was quickly developed as Covid 19 took hold, the projects will have access to large-scale, national and linked datasets, including vaccination data, viral variant and genomic sequencing data.

Professor Sir Adrian Smith, Institute director and chief executive, The Alan Turing Institute, said: “The Alan Turing Institute is delighted to support the National Core Studies through this innovative research. Bringing together health data science, artificial intelligence and largescale datasets is a powerful combination that will enable cutting-edge analysis with the potential to deliver insights crucial to our understanding of the current, and future pandemics.”

The projects form part of the National Core Studies programme, established by the government’s chief scientific advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, to answer the most urgent questions surrounding Covid 19.

Vallance added: “The ability to link largescale health datasets across the four nations is crucial and has enabled vital insights into COVID-19 since the National Core Studies were established. This programme will take the use of this data to the next level as we continue to improve our understanding of this virus”.

The nine projects are:

  • University of Bristol: The impact of previous exposure to Covid-19 and the safety of Covid-19 vaccination for fertility and pregnancy outcomes.
  • University of Glasgow: Over time, will changes in the genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus result in a decrease in vaccine effectiveness in the Scottish population?
  • University of Edinburgh: Do children and young people need extra follow up care after having SARS-CoV-2 infection?
  • Imperial College London: Are people with chronic lung diseases at a higher risk of cardiovascular complications after having Covid-19 than people who don’t have lung diseases?
  • University of Edinburgh: Using artificial intelligence as an aid to predict the risk of hospital readmission in patients with Covid-19
  • University of Edinburgh: The impact of Covid-19 vaccines in pregnancy, children and young people, and vulnerable groups.
  • University of Leicester: Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the health of individuals with Long Term Conditions.
  • University College London and University of Liverpool: Using medicines data to understand the effects of Covid-19 on clinical care.
  • University of Oxford: Improving methods in health technology to reduce inequalities, particularly ethnicity bias, using Covid-19 as an example.